Moving goods via rail rather than truck is safer for communities and drivers. Semi-truck accidents accounted for 4,050 deaths in 2015 as opposed to rail’s 233. A sleepy truck driver may run a truck, or another vehicle, off the road causing harm to the people involved and potentially to the community in the event of a fire or hazardous spill. Railroads are discreet systems, and, thanks to two man crews, there is always another set of eyes on the train looking to prevent accidents, whether at road crossings, track failures, or just entertaining a sleepy engineer. Lower road congestion means less opportunity for accidents; a typical mile-long freight train can replace more than 500 trucks.
More Fuel Efficient
Trains are four times more fuel efficient than trucks on average. If just 10% of American freight moved by the heaviest trucks on the road was transported by rail instead, 1.5 billion gallons of fuel would be saved per year.
More Environmentally Friendly
Moving freight by rail rather than truck reduces associated greenhouse gas emissions by 75%. Moving just 10% of American freight from the heaviest trucks on the road to rail would reduce greenhouse gas emissions by roughly 17 million tons.
Easier On The Tax Payer
Railroads are independently owned companies that are responsible for the maintenance of their own infrastructure, whereas trucks operate on public roads that are maintained by government bodies and are paid for by the taxpayer.
Raw materials are loaded into railcars at the point of extraction. Due to low cost per unit and ability to carry large volumes, rail is the best option for moving raw materials. Rail movements can be scheduled in line with the point of loading or with customers, building supply chain dependability.
By building track directly into a factory, or utilizing nearby transloading facilities to offload product from rail to truck, the factory can receive steady shipments of raw materials and experience cost savings using rail for long distance product movement that isn’t available with trucks.
Rail is a great option for distributing refined or finished products. The existing infrastructure can be utilized to ship the outbound product, equaling in cost savings. Because of containerized shipping, products that were once considered unsuitable for rail transit can now be easily accommodated.
For bulk products needing storage, rail yards are available until the product is sold and diverted to a final destination, or to hold until the end user accepts. Operations for offloading product into warehouses for repackaging and sorting are located on most railroads and transload facilities.